Ecclesial Movements Must Live in Communion with Pastors

VATICAN CITY, JUN 19, 1999 (VIS) – Made public today was a Message from the Pope to participants in the seminar for reflection and dialogue on “Ecclesial Movements and New Communities in the Pastoral Care of Bishops,” which took place in Rome from June 16 to 19.

Nearly 100 cardinals and bishops from all continents, as well as a number of founders of movements and communities, participated in the seminar, which was promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in collaboration with the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In his Message the Holy Father talks of “today’s most urgent pastoral duties,” especially “giving attention to those communities which have a deeper awareness of the grace received in the sacraments of Christian initiation, from which arises the vocation to be witnesses to the Gospel.” Furthermore, it is essential to form “Christian communities that may be true places of welcome for all.”

After recalling the meeting of movements and communities which took place in Rome on May 30, 1998, John Paul II indicates that in the common testimony given that day, “I saw and I see the arrival of a ‘new phase; that of ecclesial maturity’,” which is “something of a challenge. A road to be travelled. This itinerary requires that the movements have an ever more solid communion with pastors.”

“From you,” he writes, addressing the bishops, “to whom falls the task of evaluating the authenticity of the charisms in order to decide their rightful application within the Church, I ask for gentle paternity and far-sighted charity towards these realities.”

The Pope shows his confidence that the prelates’ “attentive and cordial helpfulness … will render your authority not only more gracious but also more demanding, your guidance more incisive and constructive and the ministry, which has been entrusted to you to evaluate the charisms, more fruitful. … In fact, your primary duty is to open the eyes of your hearts and your minds in order to recognise the multiple forms of the Spirit within the Church, evaluate them and conduct them all to unity in truth and charity.”

MESS/MOVEMENTS:COMMUNITIES/… VIS 990621 (360)

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